Alaska has a far greater proportion of appraisers with the Green Certified Appraisers than other states. That’s largely because of a two-day class that Fairbanks builders and banks organized in March to solve the problem that building valuations didn’t give much weight to new energy efficiency features, thereby discouraging builders from adding these features.

Among the 229 licensed and active real estate appraisers in Alaska, about 40% now have additional training in green building evaluation, said Sandra Adomatis, the Florida-based green building appraiser who came to Alaska to give the two-day class. 

“No other state is anywhere near that. Most other states I would say would be less than 5%,” she said.  

Adomatis is one of two instructors in the country who teaches the class for the Appraisal Institute. The green appraisal training has been available for 10 years. 

Terry Duszynski is a Fairbanks home inspector and a board member of the Interior Alaska Builders Association, a trade group that helped bring Adomatis to Fairbanks. He said traditional appraising methods don’t always work well for energy efficient homes in Alaska because they base the value on comparable homes. 

“If you put solar panels on your roof and go through the trouble of wiring the whole thing, does the appraiser say, ‘Let’s see, you spent $20,000.’ Is your house worth $20,000 more? He might say, ‘No, I don’t think it’s worth anything because nobody cares,’” Duszynski said.  

“When you do something new, you may not always have a market comparable to deal with, because it’s brand new. So there are ways to value that new innovation other than just comparable sales.”

At Adomatis’ seminar in March, students learned about two other ways to evaluate energy efficiency features in a home. One method involves considering the cost of a feature in the house, Duszynski said. The other considers the amount of money the feature will save over time because of heat and electricity savings.  

Duszynski is in the process of building an Airbnb rental property outside his home in the Badger Road area that includes several energy efficient features: a 95% efficient condensed oil boiler, thick, airtight insulated walls and an advanced ventilation system, which becomes important in tight buildings. The two-story, three-unit building is solar ready, which means all the wiring is set up if someone wants to add solar panels in the future.  

Adomatis previously came to Fairbanks in 2015, but said there was limited interest in the class at that time. This time around several construction companies and banks sponsored the training so that appraisers got the training at no cost. Sixteen appraisers took the class in Fairbanks and several dozen additional appraisers took the class at an add-on event in Anchorage. 

Contact Outdoors Editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.